Quick..what is the meaning of Christmas?
My two year old can tell you without missing a beat. Me? I have to think about it for a few seconds. Not because I don’t know, but because my mind is so consumed with everything that daily life entails that I have to think before I answer any question. I bet you’re the same way.
While I’m sure that is just a normal part of being an adult. It is a little bit sad to me. Even if we are in a Christmas state of mind, it may take us a bit to come up with the answer: Jesus! Oh yeah, almost forgot about him. Not because he’s not important to us, but because Christmas has become so many things to so many people and none of them are the truth.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas time: trees, lights, music, presents. It is a time of joy and excitement. There is nothing wrong with giving gifts or shopping or putting up a giant snowman on your roof. The problem is that the world sees Christmas as ONLY those things. And I truly believe that I find so much joy in the Christmas season because I know the real reason that we celebrate.
It is never more evident that the world is lost and looking for a Savior than when you are out Christmas shopping. I haven’t done a lot of Christmas shopping outside my house this year because I have two toddlers and it’s a little difficult. But I have ventured out a few times with some truly interesting experiences. It amazes me how someone will almost run you off the road to get a better parking place than you – and then still be mad about something. I have no problem walking an extra fifteen feet, and I can do it with a smile on my face because I have the source of joy living in me. On one occasion, I saw a woman yelling at a man in the 20 Items or Less isle at Walmart because he had more than 20 items – and he was BEHIND her in line!
Some of these experiences make you roll your eyes and maybe even sigh in exasperation. But next time you are out shopping this Christmas season, look around you at the people. Stop looking at all the stuff for a minute and just look at the people. There are so many sad, mean, mad expressions on faces you would think we were all being forced to buy presents for a dictator that would kill us if we didn’t deliver.
I have caught myself walking through a store with a scowl on my face, thinking about what else I needed to get on my list. So, while I’m not saying that all of these people who have their mean faces on are non-Christians, we need to realize that many of them are. And the only way they will know the true joy of Christmas is if we show them.
So, why not instead of going shopping for your cousin’s fiancé and your neighbor’s dog tonight, you go to the mall and watch people. Let the Holy Spirit lead you to tell people the good news, or just offer help carrying bags, throwing away trash after they eat, or just saying “God loves you.” Spread some true JOY. I promise you the people who don’t get gifts from you either won’t notice or they will be overjoyed to hear what you spent your shopping time doing instead.
If that is too much for you, and I completely understand that some people are terrified by the thought, tell your cashier at the grocery store that she looks pretty, let someone go in front of you in line or pay for another person’s lunch without telling them. Or just walk through your life saying tiny little prayers for each specific person that you see who looks like they need a touch from an Awesome GOD!
We don’t have to do much to show people the true meaning of Christmas. But we should do something. It will not only help others, but it will renew within us the true reason for the season. Keeping our minds focused on Jesus and what He wants us to be doing will help us to answer quickly when people ask us the meaning of Christmas. To celebrate our Savior!